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Ifremer Selects HPE/SGI to Power Advanced Oceanographic Research

January 18, 2017

For more than 40 years, Europe's leading oceanographic institution, Ifremer, has worked with the Marine Data Management Center, an agency created to store data from observation projects completed on Ifremer oceanographic fleets. In response to a massive increase in data sources and observation systems providing information to the datacenter over the years, the center began looking for more powerful systems to advance its research.

HPE/SGI Helps Researchers Improve Ocean and Climate Forecasting Models

To better manage these heavy data workloads, Ifremer launched a competitive procurement bid in 2015 called Datarmor which included datacenter, computing and storage functionality. Ifremer ultimately selected a new HPE/SGI ICE XA system and more than five petabytes of storage in June 2016 to effectively manage additional Big Data requirements. The new system—installed in late 2016—will be in production in the first quarter of 2017.

The Datarmor project is part of a national consortium of various organizations called ODATIS focused on "data pole of earth observation" or the "ocean pole." The research group addresses the challenges of Big Data by focusing on the processing and storage of data, as well as maintenance of the server infrastructure.

"Ifremer selected HPE/SGI because of our powerful technology and data processing applications," said Gabriel Broner, vice president and general manager, high-performance computing at HPE/SGI. "The health of our coastal seas, fisheries and ocean biodiversity will benefit from Ifremer's committed research and we're proud to support this leading agency's efforts."

HPC Impact on Marine Bioinformatics and Engineering

The new HPE/SGI system will provide the necessary storage capacity and will also offer more accurate calculation of data for Ifremer's coastal and marine sciences research. Ifremer will leverage its HPE/SGI ICE XA to analyze the following:

  • Modelling techniques using various scales of the ocean circulation
  • Dispersal of contaminant models regarding the coastal field
  • Coastal or marine geomatics for processing high resolution data from satellites
  • Marine bioinformatics and marine engineering with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and structure calculation

"As an HPE/SGI partner since 2007, we chose the ICE XA system for our latest Datarmor procurement for a number of reasons," said Pierre COTTY, director of marine and digital infrastructure at Ifremer. "HPE/SGI offers a balanced solution between datacenter, compute and storage and meets our benchmark for excellent performance. For example, the Dry-Cooler (Datacenter) plus ICE XA (Water-cooled) delivers dramatically increased levels of energy efficiency. The team's understanding and response to our needs has had a positive impact on our work."

Importance of Oceanographic Research

With improved computer models of ocean coastal currents, researchers will better understand phenomena such as poisonous phytoplankton development, mortality or unusual profusion of species, and the source of pollutions of specific locations. Understanding these issues will prevent disaster and manage threatened coastal seas used for fishing, aquaculture, tourism and waste discharge.

Digital ocean simulators act as real laboratories, allowing scientists to better understand ocean currents, sea level changes, marine ecosystems, and the way our oceans store heat and absorb CO2.

With continued HPC investment in oceanographic research, leading scientists can solve more complex data management and analysis problems in the future.

Technical Information

  • The new Ifremer system comprises of HPE/SGI ICE XA with 396 nodes in high-density E-Cell technology, utilizing the 14-core featuring Intel® Xeon® E5-2680 v4 processors to achieve peak compute power
  • The compute system will include Infiniband FDR Mellanox Dual-Rail, HPE/SGI UV 3000 with 5 TB memory and 20 processors featuring Intel® Xeon® E5-4650 v3 12-cores
  • The storage system includes 2 PB Lustre storage HPE/SGI InfiniteStorage 17500 for the scratch, and 5PB GS14K appliance for the Data store

Ifremer Key Facts

  • Ifremer is a French Research Institute for Exploration of the Sea
  • Over 1,400 employees based in more than 20 coastal locations in France and French overseas regions
  • 450 scientific articles published in 2015 and indexed by the Web of Science
  • 6 ocean research vessels, 1 manned submarine, 1 remotely-operated vehicle for deep sea explorations (-6000 m), 2 AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) and 1 Hybrid ROV for coastal applications

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